Tag Archives: knitting

Felted Wool Dryer Balls

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Wool dryer balls are awesome.  They are a great natural alternative to liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets.  The harmful chemicals in commercial fabric softeners can cause central nervous system damage, among other potential horrors!  Wool dryer balls soften your clothes and reduce static cling in your laundry without any harmful side affects (unless of course you’re allergic to wool, then I most definitely wouldn’t use them).  Wool dryer balls are a very popular topic people are searching for, and most of the traffic on my blog have come here through search engines looking specifically for knit and crochet patterns to make them.  In my wool dryer ball post, I did not include the pattern and I feel bad that I wasn’t helpful to the people coming here looking for them. 

The patterns to these dryer balls have been bumping around in my head for years and it’s about time I get them out into to world.

One commenter in the wool dryer ball post suggested going to the big box craft stores with a coupon or during a sale and stocking up on Fisherman’s wool for making the dryer balls. 

You’ll need to start your project by making a ball of yarn, wound very tightly.  This is a fantastic project to use up leftovers in your yarn stash.  Any 100% wool yarn will work, in any weight for the wound up ball that goes inside the knit or crochet pouch. 

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When the ball is 9 1/4 inches in circumference, thread the yarn tail onto a tapestry needle and secure the ball together.  It doesn’t have to be seamed very much, just enough that it won’t be coming apart inside your knit or crochet felted dryer ball pouches.

I’ve done quite a bit of felting and I have found Knit Picks Wool of the Andes to be the best felting yarn ever.  It felts up so easily, I swear this is what it was meant to do.  I have had success with other brands of 100% wool, just make sure you aren’t using superwash wool.

 

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Now, I’m going to be very direct and honest here. Felting is hard work! Some of the felting instructions I’ve read say something along the lines of, “Oh just throw your project in the washer and it will come out felted!” I have not found this to be true even once. I have a front load washer so felting is more of a challenge and I have no doubt it is easier in a top loading, agitating washer.

Here’s how I felted my dryer balls. First, I boiled them. I let them boil for a few minutes, then with tongs, plunged them into ice cold water. I put them back in the boiling pot of water for a few minutes, then once again, plunged them into ice cold water. I repeated this once more. I squeezed them out, put them in a mesh laundry bag, tied the slack, then put them in the washer on hot/ cold cotton cycle. I repeated this entire process (boiling and washing) 3 times before they were felted to my liking. My balls ended up being 10- 10.5 inches in circumference after all the felting. Both knit and crochet versions came out about the same size.
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Another question I get is how many balls to use? I personally like 6-8 balls in my dryer at a time. I’ve heard of people using up to 12 and as few as 2. It’s really up to you!

The crochet pattern is easier and faster to make, but harder to felt. The knit pattern takes longer to make, but easier to felt. I am glad I got to do both. It was a really fun adventure.

Crochet Felted Wool Dryer Balls pattern

Knit Felted Wool Dryer Balls pattern

Happy stitching!

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Knit Felted Wool Dryer Balls

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This is the pattern for the pouch that will go over the wound up balls of yarn to make felted wool dryer balls.  You will need to start this project by making a ball of yarn 9 1/4 inches in circumference.

Tools:

US 10 (6 mm) knitting needles, either DPN or 40″ circular for magic loop

Stitch marker to indicate beginning of round

tapestry needle

Worsted weight 100% wool yarn (make sure it’s not superwash)

Directions:

CO 6 sts, divide evenly between needles.  Place marker to indicate beginning of round.

1. KFB around (12 sts)

2. K all sts

3. K1, KFB repeat around (18 sts)

4. K all sts

5. K2, KFB repeat around (24 sts)

6. K all sts

7. K3, KFB repeat around (30 sts)

8. K all sts

9. K4, KFB repeat around (36 sts)

10. K all sts

11. K5, KFB repeat around (42 sts)

12. K all sts

13. K6, KFB repeat around (48 sts)

14. K all sts

15. K 7, KFB repeat around (54 sts)

16. K all sts

17. K8, KFB repeat around (60 sts)

Rounds 18-21, knit all sts.

22. K8, K2tog repeat around (54 sts)

23. K all sts

24. K7, K2tog repeat around. (48 sts)

25. K all sts

26. K6, K2tog repeat around (42 sts)

27. K all sts

28. K5, K2tog repeat around (36 sts)

29. K all sts

30. K4, K2tog repeat around (30 sts)

31. K all sts, place ball inside pouch.

32. K3, K2tog repeat around (24 sts)

33. K2, K2tog repeat around (18 sts)

34. K all sts

35. K1, K2tog repeat around (12 sts)

36. K2tog around (6 sts)

Cut yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail.  Thread yarn tail onto a tapestry needle, and draw it through the live sts.  Pull tight to close the pouch.  Secure and weave in yarn ends.  Felt as desired, or for more information, click here.

 

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Rainbow Striped Beanie

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I wanted to make my 4 year old son a new hat, so I gave him a pattern book to look through.  He seemed to get a little frustrated that he couldn’t find exactly what he wanted, so we searched on Ravelry for patterns together.  Again, he was frustrated he couldn’t find exactly what he wanted. 

I asked him to tell me what he was looking for.  He told me he wanted a hat with red, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, gray, and white stripes.  I got out a huge pile of yarn and had him pick out the colors for his hat.  He piled up 9 balls of yarn and said those were the colors he wanted.  We worked together to arrange the colors. 

We ended up with a Roy G Biv rainbow plus a few more colors.  What follows is the pattern to the cheerful hat my sweet 4 year old came up with. 

Pattern Gauge: 5 stitches and 7 rounds per inch in stockinette stitch

Tools:

US 5 16 inch circular knitting needle (or size needed for gauge)

US 7 16 inch circular knitting needle (or size needed for gauge)

US 7 DPNs or US 7 40 inch circular needle for magic loop

Stitch marker

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Yarn:

I used 9 colors of worsted weight yarn, most of which were Cascade 220 and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes.  The sequence for the hat was red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, gray, black.  This is an excellent project for using up all those obscure yarn ball leftovers so you can use whatever worsted weight yarn you have on hand.  You will need approximately 120 yards.

Directions:

With smaller needles and red yarn, cast on 96 stitches.  Place marker to indicate beginning of round. Work K2 P2 ribbing for 8 rounds.

Switch to larger needles, cut red yarn and begin working with orange, knit 4 rounds stockinette stitch. 

Knitting 4 rounds per color, knit in stockinette stitch until hat measures 7 inches from cast on edge.  (color sequence for this hat was red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, gray, black)

Continuing to switch colors every 4 rounds, begin decreasing.

Round 1: K 10, K2tog around (88 sts)

Round 2: K all sts

Round 3: K 9, K2tog around (80 sts)

Round 4: K all sts

Round 5: K 8, K2tog around (72 sts)

Round 6: K all sts

Round 7: K 7, K2tog around (64 sts)

Round 8: K all sts

Round 9: K 6, K2tog around (56 sts)

Round 10: K all sts

Round 11: K 5, K2tog around (48 sts)

Round 12: K all sts

Round 13: Switching to DPN’s or 40″ circular for magic loop, K 4, K2tog around (40 sts)

Round 14: K all sts

Round 15: K 3, K2tog around (32 sts)

Round 16: K all sts

Round 17: K 2, K2tog around (24 sts)

Round 18: K all sts

Round 19: K 1, K2tog around (16 sts)

Round 20: K all sts

Round 21: K2tog around (8 sts remaining)

Cut yarn, leaving 6 inch yarn tail.  Thread onto tapestry needle, thread remaining sts onto needle and pull the top of the hat closed.  Secure, and weave in all ends. 

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December Crochet

I’m not sure why, but crochet has been really appealing to me lately.  I go through phases with knitting and crochet, but usually just stick to knitting because it’s easier for me.

I have had issues with something ridiculous in crochet, and that’s turning chains.  I didn’t really understand them, what they are for, how to count stitches with them added.  The problem is that it can be different from pattern to pattern.  Having not enough experience to know that, I frogged many a crochet project.  I always stuck to amigurumi toys because they do not involve join and chain business.

I found a hat pattern that worded the instructions so well that I was able to finally figure it out.  And so, as it happens so often, I got a high from overcoming a problem.  I made a hat in 45 minutes!  It takes hours, sometimes days, to knit a hat.  And I made more, enough for both kids, my husband, and for two dolls.  Yay!

I also did a lot of Amigurumi this month.  I made some Christmas tree ornaments and each of my kids a new squishy toy for a gift. 

My brother and sister in law are going to be having a baby in about a month.  Over the past few days, I have been working nonstop on a granny square blanket for them.  It’s one big granny square.  I fell in love with the concept of the granny sqaure long ago, but to just continue and continue until you have a blanket was not something I had thought to do.  I am in love with this pattern!

I worked really hard and put a lot of time into it, but nowhere near what I would have spent knitting a baby blanket.  I finished the border yesterday and weaved in all the ends. I put it in the washer on cold delicate cycle to block it.  When I took it out, I was met with every yarn worker’s worst nightmare.  It had come unraveled where I had changed colors!  Oh the horror!  Really, it was horrifying.

I managed to fix all the holes and I learned a difficult lesson.  Weaving in ends in knit and crochet projects are very different.  I shall remember this from now on.

So, to make me feel better, my husband ordered me some new crochet hooks.  I have been wanting new hooks for years, but didn’t know what to get.  It seems that in the yarn worker’s market, knitting rules.  You can buy some awesome needles, but for hooks, you kind of have to just go to the big box craft stores.  Those have been fine, but to go from knitting on Addi Turbos to crocheting with Boye or Susan Bates… I just felt like they were cheap.

Clover somewhat recently came out with a new line of crochet hooks.  They’re called Amour and they are getting rave reviews on the crochet groups on Ravelry.  So my love bought me some.  Because he’s awesome.

When I get them I’ll let you all know what I think.  Since I know you are all on the edge of your seats wondering what I think of something… oh blogging.

I hope you all had a Happy Hanukkah, Christmas, and I hope you will have a Happy New Year!

 

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The M107 Hat (Free Pattern!)

This pattern is now available as a free Ravelry Download for digital readers or a printable hard copy!  It’s also available on this blog, below.

The M107 Hat

Pattern designed by Janelle Wood

I made my husband a pair of fingerless gloves to wear during target practice. I decided he needed a matching hat. The result is this pattern. I just happened to finish knitting the hat on the day he finally got his Barrett M107, so that’s what he decided to name the pattern.

The hat fits a wide range of head sizes. It fits an adult man and a woman’s head size comfortably, thanks to the elasticity the cables provide.

Tools

Size 4 (3.5mm) 16 inch circular needle

Size 6 (4mm) 16 inch circular needle

Size 6 (4mm) DPNs or 40 inch circular

Cable needle

Stitch markers

Yarn

200 yards DK or Sportweight yarn (the example was knit in baby alpaca)

Gauge

23 sts and 32 rows-4 inches stockinet stitch (5.75 sts per inch)

Horseshoe Cable sequence (worked over 12 sts)

 

Rnds 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8: K12

Rnd 3: C6B, C6F (slip 3 sts onto a cable needle and hold in back. K the next 3 sts, K the 3 stitches off the cable needle. Slip next 3 sts onto a cable needle and hold in front. K the next 3 sts, then K the 3 sts off the cable needle)

Instructions

With Long Tail Cast On method and smaller needles, CO 120 sts

Place marker and join, begin working K2P2 ribbing in the round.

Work ribbed brim for 1.5 inches (4 cm) or 12 rounds

Next Round: Switch to larger needles and P6, *K12, P12 repeat from * until last 18 sts, K12, P6

Begin working Horseshoe cable sequence over the knit stitches

Work in established pattern until entire work measures 7 inches (18 cm), or desired length. (The example was knit to 6 inches then began decreases because my husband likes a shorter hat. Make it to your liking).

 

Begin decreases as follows:

Rnd 1: P1, P2tog, *K12, [P1, P2tog 4 times] repeat from * to last 16 sts: K12, [P1, P2tog twice]

Rnd 2: work even in pattern

Rnd 3: P4, *SSK, SSK, K4, K2tog, K2tog, P8 repeat from * to last 16 sts, Ssk, SSK, K4, K2tog, K2tog P4

Rnd 4: Work even in pattern (for me this was a cable round so I did C4B, C4F. Continue to work cable rounds where appropriate)

Rnd 5: (Switch to DPN’s or long circular for magic loop) P2tog twice, *K8, [P2tog twice] repeat from * to last 10 sts, K8, P2tog

Rnd 6: Work even in pattern

Rnd 7: P2, *SSK, SSK, K2tog, K2tog, P4 repeat from * to last 10 sts, Ssk, Ssk, K2tog, K2tog, P2

Rnd 8: Work even in pattern

Rnd 9: Work even in pattern

Rnd 10: P2tog, *K4, [P2tog twice] repeat from * to last 6 sts, K4, P2tog

Rnd 11: P1, *SSK, K2tog, P2 repeat from * to last 5 sts, SSK, K2tog, P1.

Place last P stitch on first needle and continue as follows:

Rnd 12: *P2tog, K2tog, repeat from *

Finishing

Cut yarn, leaving a 12 inch tail. Draw yarn through remaining sts, pulling tight to close. Weave in ends, wash and block as desired.

Pattern Variation

To make this hat in Worsted weight, use size 5 (3.74mm) for the brim and size 7(4.5 mm) for the body of the hat. Cast on 96 sts instead of 120. Work pattern as written.

This pattern was intended for personal use only. Feel free to gift any finished projects made from this pattern. Selling projects made from this pattern is prohibited without the written consent of the designer.

For questions, feel free to leave a comment

or find her as johnsie4 on Ravelry.

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Tips For Magic Loop Knitting

Right now I’m knitting the legs of a pair of longies.  Thanks to the technique of Magic Loop knitting, the legs are being knit two at a time.  I think that’s just the most awesome thing in the world.

Admittedly, I was extremely intimidated by the magic loop method and it took me a long time to attempt it.  My first attempts weren’t great, and a large reason for this was because I was so accustomed to knitting small diameter projects on double pointed needles.  The two methods differ from each other, and I recommend trying both.

When I finally got the hang of knitting small diameter projects in the round with one long circular knitting needle (magic loop), I decided that this technique was for me.

Reasons I like Magic Loop so much:

I can knit items two at a time (socks, gloves, sleeves, pant legs, different toy appendages, ect).  This way both items end up being identical.  This is a huge advantage.

I only need one long circular needle and I no longer have to keep track of all those DPNs.

Ways Magic Loop and knitting with DPN’s differ:

Something I hated when using DPNs was the ladder that always seemed to appear between the stitches that ended and began on each needle.  This does not exist with the magic loop method.  BUT one thing that was hard to get used to was not tightening my yarn when I switched sides whilst magic looping.

Many old school knitters will not accept the idea or try the magic loop method.  They say they hate all that adjusting.  To that, I say WHAT?  I find I adjust way more with DPN’s.  At first I felt oafish when changing sides, but after I found my rhythm, I adjust very little compared to my DPN knitting. 

When I knit with DPN’s, I am very particular with my needle positions.  The needle holding the stitches that are currently being worked must rest above the next needle, and the needle I am knitting the stitches onto must rest on top of the needle before it.  Since I am so particular, this takes much adjusting every time I switch needles. 

I decided I wanted to write down tips that I have found with my magic loop knitting that help it move along smoothly.  

Tips For Smoother Magic Loop Knitting:

1. Relax.  When switching sides, do not pull the yarn tight.  Just keep knitting.  Pulling it tight will make the needle transition difficult and make it hard to allow the stitches to move along the needle.  This was a hard lesson for me to learn.

2. If you are knitting something two at a time with one ball of yarn (one strand coming from the outside, one from the center), it can get tangled easily.  Here’s what works for me: the side of the ball where the strand comes out of the center must be face down at all times.  It still pulls freely, and this way the yarn coming from the outside of the ball can unwind freely as well.  It takes some practice, and soon I got the hang of which way to flip the work when switching sides so the yarn doesn’t get wound around each other.

3. When working two at a time and it’s time to start the next item on the needle (and this happens on each side during each round): let the yarn that you just finished knitting with hang  over the top of the needle, toward the front of the work.   If the yarn falls to the inside, what can happen is when you begin working the next side, the cord from the circular knitting needle can get caught underneath the bar between the stitches.  The cord is easily removed, but the result is that the bar between the stitches on either side will be loose and sloppy.  I hope that made sense.  If you practice knitting on something it will be more clear.

4.  Use a long circular, 32 inches or longer.  I prefer a 40″ circular needle.  If the cable is a bit stiff, boil water in a tea kettle and run the cable through the steam. This will soften the cord and make it more flexible.  This is only necessary (possible, advisable) before casting on.

5.  Check out the video tutorial at Knittinghelp.com under the advanced techniques tab.  It’s a wonderful demonstration.

 Remember that magic loop knitting is simple in principle.  Of course this is true of knitting in general.  Magic loop knitting is simple because you divide the stitches once, and all the live stitches stay on the side they were appointed to.  For some reason I thought all the adjusting old school knitters complained of meant that the live stitches had to be continuously positioned.  They don’t.  They stay where they were put.

Everything takes practice.  It’s good to try all the options and choose your favorite technique for your project.   Knitting should be fun!

Happy knitting everyone!

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WIP Wednesday 2/23

Lately I’ve had a lot of gift knitting going on.  After getting those projects off the needles, I made a new goal.

I’ve been gradually touring my new Local Yarn Shops and collecting a skein or two of random yarns.  My stash has grown considerably, and I think it’s time to declare Yarn Diet.  That means I’m not going to be buying new yarn, but using what I currently have residing in my yarn closet.

My first stash busting project is one that I’ve had in my mental queue for more than a year and a half.  It’s Beer Gloves by Kurt Fausett.  I really like this pattern and they are knitting up quickly.  I think I’ll finish the second glove tonight!  My husband is very excited about them, and I keep catching him wearing the lonely first glove in anticipation for the pair.  I have been too.

 

My only problem with the pattern is the instructions for the thumb.  I read and re-read the instructions.  After a while, it finally dawned on me that it’s an afterthought thumb.  Then again, the Stitch ‘N Bitch patterns are frequently full of errata and poorly worded.  I just think it should have said what it meant and I would have been spared a few minutes of frustration.  Ah, well.  I still love the gloves.

I have included a pic of the thumb stitches being held on waste yarn, just for reference.  I really like afterthought things for many reasons.  I  have been thinking of ways to incorporate this technique into my knitting to prevent seaming.  I’m thinking toys would be much simpler!

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